Policing intelligence

Essex Police is using the latest business intelligence software to build a safer environment for information, officers and residents alike.

Nov 13, 2008
By Paul Jacques

Essex Police is using the latest business intelligence software to build a safer environment for information, officers and residents alike.

Knowledge is the key that opens the door to new opportunities for today’s police service. Having the right information, at the right time, is crucial when making the strategic, tactical, and operational decisions that drive organisational goals forward.

Letting valuable information go unutilised can have serious implications. Delayed, incorrect or simply missed reactions to opportunities can prevent a force from successfully executing its mission. It also suffers if staff waste time and effort searching for information, reinventing it, or experience frustration from always having to make decisions without all the right information.

Regulatory pressures give an additional incentive for organisations to understand the information they have.

Business intelligence (BI) solutions equip organisations to capitalise on the vast stores of information – about customers, services, its operational field, trends and much more – that accumulate in the course of day-to-day operations.

With BI, an organisation can begin to truly understand ‘what it knows’. Forces that want to optimise business processes, simplify information access, retrieval and analysis, and, above all, deliver on the idea of transforming raw information into meaningful intelligence, can do so much more rapidly with a BI solution in place.

This goes hand-in-hand with enterprise content management (ECM). This is not just about controlling and managing business content and the repositories and systems where it resides. It is about understanding the relationship between people, processes and content and how this flows within and across departments, what systems it touches and what processes it is tied to.

Essex Police was looking at new technologies that could help support the services it provides to residents, businesses and visitors, as well as its own officers – and upgrading its ECM was the logical step.

It needed a more efficient and effective mechanism to search its internal databases for crime figures, hotspots and any information that could help improve crime reduction initiatives, and turned to Open Text’s Livelink ECM BI solution.

Business need

Essex Police needed to reduce the time it took officers and others in the force to search for, identify and access critical information and wanted a solution that would allow them to query and report centrally on data from its crime recording system.

Essex Police was already deploying an Open Text Livelink ECM BI solution, including BI administration and BI query. However, its needs had developed beyond the capabilities of the existing system, which didn’t allow for the data to be managed centrally.

The force’s critical information was dispersed across a number of shared servers and split into different data levels. This meant that updates to the system had to be carried out on each individual server, which resulted in officers spending vital man-hours managing the system instead of focusing on core policing duties.

Its current BI system did not lend itself well to operation via the intranet either. It was available only on a limited number of computers that had the software installed. This meant officers had to wait to retrieve critical information from the database, restricting their access to crime figures and hindering their ability to identify crime hotspots.

Following a series of demonstrations and evaluations, Essex Police decided to upgrade to the latest version of Open Text Livelink ECM BI Suite.

Solving crime by securing information

Essex Police originally implemented Open Text’s BI Suite in 2004 and started using the BI query tool to search and report on data from its crime recording system. Following this initial implementation, it soon realised the potential of the solution and started to create data

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